The pandemic has quickly entered its third year, and the entire healthcare workforce, physicians included, are feeling the burnout. As the physician workforce in the United States and globally is continuing to decline, and the industry is experiencing significant shortages, it's important for healthcare systems to take the right actions to improve physician well being and happiness.
According to the American Medical Association, there are five evidence-based actions to take to improve physician well being now:
Physicians are amazing, but they can’t do it all. The need flexibility and they need autonomy. Adjust protocols, update goals and identify what can be paused or eliminated in the physician's typical work day.
Remove unneeded burdens
When adjusting expectations, identify what burdens physicians face on a day-to-day basis and make the decision to eliminate them. For example, reevaluate administrative burdens that can be eliminated. There are certainly training requirements or other unnecessary extras that can be removed so the physician can focus on their most important task at hand: patient care. This will improve not only physician well being but also the quality of care and satisfaction the patient experiences.
Make a plan for staffing shortages
It’s not a secret anymore: We know there are staffing shortages in the industry. What is your healthcare or hospital system doing to shore up the issue? It’s time to make moves that will improve the physician shortages and therefore reduce stressors on current physicians.
Designate an executive
Does your hospital or healthcare system have someone who is actually in charge of physician well being? By designating an executive who coordinating these efforts, physician well being will be a top priority and no longer fall to the wayside when it’s needed most.
Supplement employee-assistance program
To that end, employee assistance programs alone are no longer enough. The American Medical Association suggests “providing quality mental health counseling, establishing peer-support programs and offering psychological training for all leaders.”
The industry cannot leave physicians to fend for themselves when they need support most. When hospitals and healthcare systems take these five actions to improving physician well being, both the physician and their patients will feel the positive impact.